By Cathy Jones
The Arnotts Biscuit Factory operated at Homebush from 1908 to 1997, when it was relocated to Huntingwood. When the Arnotts family purchased the site in 1906, it was called ‘Arnotts Folly’ as it is was considered too far from the City to attract workers. However, the Homebush factory which opened in 1908 was eventually the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and exported biscuits from Homebush to the rest of the world. Many families in Homebush, Concord and Strathfield worked for Arnotts. Many members of the Arnotts family lived in Strathfield. By 1933 the number of employees peaked at 2,500 and annual production exceeded 10,250 tons. Deliveries were originally made by horse and buggy, but these made way for the famous red delivery vans in the late 1920s.
Arnott’s Biscuits were originally delivered in tins. Tins were returned and recycled. However, biscuit tins which were damaged or broken were crushed. Many were buried under the car park and Arnott’s Bowling Green (which is now part of the Powell’s Creek Corridor). Some tins were melted and used for land reclamation in nearby Mason Park. Albert Mason was the Mayor of Homebush and Chief electrician of Arnott’s Biscuits. Mason Park is named after him.
The Arnott’s factory was relocated to Huntingwood in 1997 and the Homebush factory was closed. The former factory has been readapted into the Bakehouse Quarter. This site provides many references to its Arnott’s history ranging from the SAO sign to small Arnott’s Parrot emblems woven into building facades. George Street has been recast with a cobblestone road and Edwardian style-lighting harking back to the days in the early twentieth century when the Arnott factory was first built.